Special Olympics bowlers bring home gold from state tournament

  • Members of the Homer Special Olympics bowling teams pose for a photo after taking multiple medals at the state tournament on Nov. 18-20. (Pictured left to right) Back Row: Richard Everett, Robin Daugherty, Jody Herd, Larry Bonfiglio, Nick Kvasnikoff, Eddie Escalera, Gail Essex, Amber Loop, Amber Becker 2nd Row: Mark Smallwood, Pene Anderson, Celton Chambers, Johnnie Jones, Robby Reeves, Denny Mike Daily, Byron Morris, 3rd Row: Kira Steadman, Tonya McGee, Front Row: Brent Escolta, Coach Mary Gerrety, Shaunti Johnson, Jeremey Day, Donna Glover-Photo provided
  • (Pictured left to Right) Jody Herd, Pene Anderson, Lee Grunstad, Robin Daugherty pose for a photo with their plaques won for unified male (mixed) team highest total pinfall with handicap. Grunstad and Anderson also won the highest total pinfall with handicap for unified male (mixed) doubles.-Photo provided
  • (Pictured left to right) Amber Loop and Gail Essex show off their awards for unified female athlete singles highest total pinfall with handicap and unified female partner singles highest total pinfall scratch, respectively.-Photo provided

Homer Community Special Olympics Bowling brought home 31 medals and four highest pinfall awards from the State Bowling Tournament in Anchorage on Nov. 18-20.

“I think this is the best we’ve done at the tournament with all the medals and pinfall awards,” said Special Olympics Community Director Carol Shuler. “We’ve only gotten one (pinfall award) before.”

Homer took six four-person teams, two of which were unified teams. Unified sports teams consists of people with and without intellectual disabilities to promote social inclusion. Unified sports was inspired by the idea that training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding, according to a Special Olympics press release.

Homer’s bowling teams won 13 gold medals, 11 silver medals and seven bronze medals at the tournament. Additionally, Homer won plaques for four Total Pinfall Awards, which are based on the players’ scores. Three out of the four awards included the players’ score handicap.

• Jody Herd, Robin Daughterty, Lee Grunstad and Pene Anderson won the Unified Male (Mixed) Team Highest Total Pinfall with Handicap.

• Lee Grunstad and Pene Anderson won the Unified Male (Mixed) Doubles Highest Total Pinfall with Handicap.

• Amber Loop won the Unified Female Athlete Singles Highest Total Pinfall with Handicap.

• Gail Essex won the Unified Female Partner Singles Highest Total Pinfall Scratch.

In addition to accolades collected, two bowlers from Homer also bowled their personal best at the tournament, Shuler said. Jeremy Day bowled 192 and Denny Mike Daily bowled 178.

The state tournament marks the end of the bowling season for Special Olympics, which is now beginning its second season of floor hockey.

“As usual, Team Homer exhibited exemplary sportsmanship and camaraderie throughout the tournament,” said Shuler in a press release. “We are very proud of all their hard work and dedication that was so richly rewarded. We have an amazing coach in Mary Gerrety, whose love for bowling and amazing positive spirit carried us through all year.”

Special Olympics is also holding its annual fundraiser, the Sugar Plum Fair, at Homer United Methodist Church on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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